Law on Protection of Women, Children Passed
Wednesday, 06 October 2010

The parliament has passed a law for the protection of women and children from family violence and discrimination.

The house ratified "The Domestic Violence (resistance and protection) Bill-2010" as state minister for women and children affairs Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury proposed its passage amid absence of the opposition lawmakers on Tuesday.

The lone independent MP Fazlul Azim took part in the discussion. He supported the bill in principle, but advocated further feedback from the people.

The junior minister, however, rejected his proposal.

She said the government had moved the bill mainly with a view to protecting women from domestic violence, not to punish men.

The bill defines mental torture as verbal abuse, humiliation, neglect, and intimidation.

As per the law, anyone committing physical, mental, sexual torture on women and children (below 18 years of age) and causing economic damages may be imprisoned for six months or fined up to Tk 10,000, or both for the first offence. In latter instances, the guilty may face up to two years' imprisonment or fines up to Tk 100,000, or both.

For filing false cases, the punishment will be one year in jail or a fine of Tk 50,000, or both.

Under the law, physical punishment includes physical damage. Forcing women and children to commit offences or any behaviour with the chance of causing physical damage, will be considered physical torture.

Financial damages mean actions and attempts to deprive women and children of their legal and traditional rights on wealth and land. No one can deprive wives of using their marriage gifts or wealth, the bill says.

The bill mandates the police to ensure treatment of victims and the right to get legal assistance.

The victims or anyone on their behalf can file complaints with the court for redress and the court will dispose of the same in 60 days since filing of the allegation.

The court, after hearing both sides, will be able to conduct trial in camera, says the section 23 of the bill.

On justification of the law, Shirin Chaudhury said domestic violence hampers the mental development of women and children.

She said the bill was aimed at creating public awareness about the negative impacts of domestic violence.

The government moved the bill after Bangladesh signed the treaty against all forms of discrimination against women (1979) and the convention on children rights (1989).

Source: bdnews24.com

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